Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Arc de Triomphe

Hello Dear Friends,  
This is the Arc de Triomphe, an entrance to the city of Paris...

...and this is my arc entry  between the front yard and the back yard.

 It is made of lightweight vinyl. To keep the wind from blowing it into the next farmer's field I weighted the flower boxes with rocks and bricks.

I have not shown this on the blog before. It has been in  a box for awhile. Mr. S. finally got around to putting it together, but the instructions had been lost. I'm happy with the results, although some areas had to be duct taped. Bungee chords and plaster came in handy too. So far, those repair products do not come in decorator colors, but we found some in white.

If you get one of these, make sure to get one that is not as flimsy. It also looks good near the front door or back door., and many other places.

We have never been through the Arc de Triomphe but we sure enjoy walking through this arch.

It is just for show, and the only cars that will pass through it will be the kiddie cars and bikes. 

We have moved it to several places already but settled on this one because we can see it when we drive into the driveway after being out. It makes us feel like we are coming back to somewhere more important.

I feel so fine and regal  walking through this with Mr. S. We think we live in a castle on a great estate. He suggested I make a dress to "go with." Now he is really catching on to my sewing lifestyle.


 Hello Everyone,  Before I begin my day of sewing, which will isolate me in the back room of the far end of the house, I'm sharing a few things with you. These are the Italian plums, which, when you shine them on your shirt, reveal a deep purple. I love that frosty glaze on them, do you?

My senses seem to take wings and fly with the fuel of euphoria when I stand under a tree and look up at the fruit.  It is an experience I share with my visitors that use those guest rooms.

Hobby Lobby had an unadvertised sale on knobs for 99 cents.  For decades I had kicked myself for losing the finials on the footboard of Grandma's bed. which is in one of the guest rooms. I used two of these to temporarily fill that gap, because they were almost the same size, square at the ends.  They look like coach lights.

The tea table is ready for company...

...and this is the current condition of the sky in these parts...

Below is another guest room. I moved the outdoor table set in there to protect it from the corrosion over the winter.  I know these things are considered weather-proof, but the wind, rain, ice, etc. does wear out the finish, and I think its a cute addition to the guest room.

One of the comments had a suggestion to put shutters on the windows of the Manse to make it look more cottage-y, and this is what I did:

These are metal scroll decorative things from Hobby Lobby. I hope you can see them better in this picture. I see I need to paint them a bit darker to match the house trim, which is called "English Meadows" so if the weather remains dry, that is what I will be doing.

This may seem odd, but the old tub that has been here since 1960 was rusted so much on the outside, that I grew weary of putting different cleaning and anti-rust products on it. Finally I spray painted it. Now I can keep the curtain open a little and not be hiding that eyesore. 

I got the inspiration for this from a picture I framed (from a magazine) a few years ago and hung in my bathroom:
 I also had a container from one of those bath stores (years and years ago), that I hung on to for years and years, which also matches the picture. 

It is impossible to replace these outdated things like tubs and sinks from the last century,  because of the size, the way it was put in, and connected, etc. so I've found that paint is my easiest tool to update things. Unless something is actually broken, and it still functions well, I generally do not replace it.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Vinedresser


Mr.S. has a new interest: training the grapevines to go around the arbor.  As you know, someone left a metal wedding arch after the last wedding, because they did not want it. We tried to give it away and even sell it but no takers. Now those vines are eagerly creating the most wonderful nature decor. Mr. S. goes outside every day and tends to the tendrils of the grapevines, putting them gently on the trellis.

He also hung a round solar light which looks so nice at night. I hope you can see it; the white globe in the middle of the trellis.

I am sharing some sewing tips. Every stitcher has her ways, and one thing I do is put the pattern and the cut out fabric inside a large zip-lock plastic bag, just to keep the mess together; no missing facings here!

After the sewing project is completed, I put the pattern pieces in the bag, as they rarely fit back in the envelope even when ironed, and this way it keeps the pattern envelope from getting torn.  I have several of these unfinished dresses. When the item has been sewn,   I use the bag again for something else, so it is not a big expense. Most of my patterns are in plastic bags like this.

This pattern is McCalls 8131 from 1996 in case you are wondering.

Also I  had a bit of a delight finding this pair of matching cloth covered shoes, for $1.00 at Walmart. You are going to ask me if I can wear them, due to their structure. No, they are just for the photograph when I model the finished garment, and yes, I can put shoe cushions inside them and wear them  to any place where I won't be walking in them much, like church. They are not for hiking or gardening. 

This hair band from Dollar Tree is a perfect match and will save me some time sewing one. Maybe I'll get the dress done sooner.

Regarding the fabric, I want you to know I bought it a year ago and am just now getting time to sew it. While looking at some ladies videos I discovered they were wearing black check fabrics, and now it is really a big thing. Hobby Lobby is selling black check autumn decor, including decorative pumpkins. But when I first began this project, black check was not a trend yet.  The pattern from 1996 shows a black gingham dress. That was over 20 years ago. I am just so far behind, the trend for black gingham recycled itself to the modern age. 

I regret I have not finished sewing the dress. Hopefully the next post will show the completed garment, if I have a photographer, and if none can be recruited, then it will be on the dress form. I hope to make a purse and a hat, also.  I better get busy now. 

Gingham (checkered) pumpkins from Hobby Lobby.

Thank you for your visit and your comments.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

September is Pear Month (Northern Hemisphere)

Catherine Klein 1861-1929

Above: My Bosc Pears in Grandma's bowl, teacup in mismatched cup and saucer, with tissue paper carnations.

Mr. S. informed me yesterday of Pear Month, which I had no knowledge of, so this morning I'm posting one of Catherine Klein's pear paintings, and photos of my pears. 

As I have mentioned previously, I joined an online homemaking coach, which is from the old SHE program back in the 70's. I want to share what came today on email, because it was so true and so cleverly written:

Yes,  it addresses the problem of the "selfish house guest."  I agree: we would not endure a selfish house guest as long as we endure the one that lives in our homes right now--clutter and disorganization, accumulated grime, etc! It stays with us so long, we get accustomed to it, and accept it, erstwhile becoming more nervous and high strung, yet not knowing why.

I also want to share a tiny guest room I have fixed up (the best I can, with its limitations) using toile fabric. It was a no-sew project. I've had these swaths of cloth on my living room couch and chairs in the past, and now I am using them in this little room. 

The wall accessories came from various places over the years (I do not want to say how many years ago!) such as Goodwill, Walmart and Given-to-Me.

 I have not measured the space in this room but it seems to be about 6 feet by 5 feet. 

One of my grandsons made the "catch" of fish hanging there, with scraps of cloth. 

This room has been a boys room most of the time.

This is another small room, a bit bigger than the boys room, which I have been cleaning up and working on. I've used some old bedding from the 1980's.  It just won't wear out, so I have not got anything new for it. The room is stuck-in-time; preserved history ;-) It is also my sewing room, but I have not finished cleaning it up so I can't show you the other side.  Its all about editing and only presenting it in a good light and never letting you see the real mess ;-). I don't want to depress you.

We spent a few moments in our "outdoor room" ....

... and enjoyed the shadow on the wall from the little birdcage hanging in the living room window:

This pictorial tour does not include the hidden messes in other rooms that I need to work on. It is time to get back to the mounds.

Someone gave me the most delightfully scented "crisp apple" candle, and the aroma makes some of the huge tasks a lot more pleasant.
I lit the candle for the photograph, but ever since I got this candle, all I have had to do for scent is leave the jar open when I want to enjoy it.

The brand is "Hannah's At Home."  I might look for a pear scent in this brand. It certainly does give the home a wonderful inspiring uplifting atmosphere, when the lid is removed, and not lit.

I am also celebrating the new Spring season in Australia. I decided to ignore the impending darkness and harsh cold season above the equator  and enjoy the Australian spring below the equator instead.  You probably wonder how I can do that. Well, I got so behind on my summer sewing, that I have to start now, and it is easier to stay in the mood to sew summer clothes if I am just starting summer.

Congratulations to the Australians for their Spring.  I feel your joy.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

All is Well

Hello Everyone,

Just posting to assure you that all is well here at The Manse. 

Today I am posting Catherine Klein paintings of fruit. These appear to be watercolors, and oh I do like them so much.  I have also posted some tea cups from Pinterest with similar motifs. 

That apple painting in the teacup is almost as good as standing under an apple tree and looking at the beautiful colors. Both the Klein painting and the tea cup painting have a raindrop.

Plums: The kind that have a fog on them before you shine it on your shirt. They look soft and sweet. How did she do that? The plums look juicy and the apples look crisp.

Pretty Grapes:  The artists must have been very observant people, able to concentrate on painting the details of light and shadow on a mass of grapes.

Cherries. Look at the way she painted them to look crisp and hard like real cherries. I can taste them!


Each fruit in the paintings has a different texture, and she painted them all just right. How did she do that? The Pears seem to have that leatherly skin like my Bosc pears, and the peaches are softer. 
When I last posted about my housekeeping progress, I was in the kitchen. I now have one more shelf to clean
 before I move on to the laundry room. 

While cleaning house
 I was remembering Silas
Wegg and the dust mounds!  He
 found hats, shoes. jewelry...and a Will. So far, I have only found an excess of half-used
pencils,erasers and other office supplies.

Housekeeping is a "good work" and like all work, it takes diligence, determination and anticipation of the end result.  It is quite motivating to clean house when someone is coming, but what if no one is coming and no one will notice? Should I clean it anyway?  I think so, because if it is done for the glory of God, and for orderliness
it is not done for nothing.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Also, if you live by yourself and there is no one to please, why not please yourself and give yourself a nice, clean place to live. 


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